The Singapore Literature Prize is a biennial award that recognises the works of local writers. It is supported by the National Arts Council, the National Library Board and the National Book Development Council of Singapore. There are 12 categories, with 12 prizes for the best works in each category. Each winner receives a hand-crafted trophy.
This year’s competition had more than half of the shortlisted writers being first time entrants. A total of 43 writers submitted works for consideration. Of these, seven were finalists. Two were chosen for special mention, and two were awarded awards. One of these was a creative non-fiction work, while two were works of fiction.
The winner will receive a cash prize of $300,000. The Singapore Prize Laureate will receive an award certificate, as well as a gold medallion. Among other things, the prize celebrates the achievements of Lee Kwan Yew, the founding prime minister of Singapore. He was instrumental in developing the city into a clean and green garden city.
The competition this year was open to works written in one of the four official languages of Singapore. Aside from the shortlisted fiction, poetry also competed. Several of the winners were first time entrants. For example, the Tamil writer rma cureeess won two awards.
Two works of fiction were ranked as readers’ favorites. “Gaga” was described as a drama of great warmth and sensitivity. Laha Mebow directed the film. The cast included an ensemble of non-professional actors. The film also won the Golden Horse Award. Other prizes went to the 91-year-old Suratman Markasan and the Tamil writer rma cureeess.
In addition to the cash prizes, the finalists will be invited to the Singapore World Cities Summit to be held in December. Afterwards, the award will be presented to the winner at the Hard Rock Cafe. The prize also includes a commemorative momento and an annual cash prize of $800.
Organizers say the prize reflects the relationship between people. It is also designed to highlight the importance of thought-leadership among cities. As part of its mission, the Singapore Prize encourages exchanges of ideas between cities.
In the past, the prize has been sponsored by Keppel Corporation, Fission Group, and Filmgarde Cineplexes. FengHe Group, an Asian alternative asset management firm, has made an expendable gift of S$100,000 to support two cash prizes.
Another prize promotes thought leadership among young people. The Articulation Prize for Singapore will be organised by the National Gallery Singapore and will provide a platform for young people to express their opinions. The prize will also be an opportunity for Singapore’s youth to get involved in a national initiative.
As of this year, the Singapore Prize is still accepting submissions. The 2022 version will have 43 authors vying for a total of 12 top prizes. Aside from the top prize, each author will receive a commissioned trophy. And the National Arts Council will help to provide a financial boost. If you are interested in applying, you can check out the complete list of this year’s shortlisted writers by language.